Tuesday, August 25, 2009

# Posted 9:11 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY, KEVIN! It's been seven years now that Kevin Drum's been blogging. His story says something great about the blogosphere.

Some of the early bloggers were grad students in their pajamas. (Why is everyone looking at me?!?!?) In contrast, Kevin had a successful career in business, then decided to try his hand at blogging in his free time. His good nature, command of details and overall intelligence rapidly brought in a growing audience. Eventually, Kevin accepted an offer from the Washington Monthly and has been blogging professionally ever since.

This is exactly what the blogosphere was supposed to do. It was supposed to open political debate to intelligent people who deserved a say but never made commentary a vocation.

I got an e-mail from Kevin shortly after he started blogging. He said he read my blog and maybe I'd be interested in his. I most definitely was. On occasional visits to California, I got to meet Kevin in person. He even had a bloggers' dinner at his home.

I'm curious if new bloggers still make connections that way. It was all very casual back then. We were like model train enthusiasts, or hobbyists of some other sort that people don't exactly understand. We felt like we had something in common, even though we'd never met.

With blogging so widespread, I'm guessing that people don't feel a connection to each other just because they blog about politics. On the other hand, it's getting more and more normal to become real friends with people you know online.

In the old days -- way back, almost seven years ago, when I was young -- I think bloggers were a lot more optimistic about the potential for raising the level of debate across party lines. I get the sense that Kevin isn't all that upbeat anymore.

Some people think bloggers are the problem, not the cure. I think Kevin might suggest that the problem is partisanship, primarily on one side of the aisle. Personally, I think it's just the way democracy is. Technology won't change it.

But even if the new era of civility hasn't begun, I think blogging has done opened some very important doors. Seven years from now, I hope I'm still reading Kevin Drum.

Cross-posted at Conventional Folly
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